India’s school lunch program may be imperfect, but it deserves credit for feeding millions

Schoolchildren in Haryana, India eat rice and kadhi, a curry made with onions, garlic, yogurt and fritters made with chick pea flour.
Credit:Rhitu Chatterjee

One day earlier this summer, I visited a government school in a village called Dujana, in the state of Haryana.

Listen to the Story.

During the lunch break, little, skinny girls dressed in blue and white checkered kurtas (tunics) and navy blue shalwars (loose cotton pants) stepped out of their classrooms and headed straight toward a line of empty, dilapidated looking rooms at the far end of the school compound. There, in front of the rooms sat two women with a giant vat of steaming hot khichdi, a dish made of rice mixed, lentils and vegetables.

The girls lined up in front of the women with empty lunch boxes in hand. One by one, the two women doled out a ladle full of the freshly cooked khichdi to each girl. The girls returned to their classes to eat their free lunch.

This was my first time witnessing India’s mid-day meal program in action. I was touched by the sight. There’s something about the sight of emaciated children eating hot, freshly cooked food that they wouldn’t otherwise get that doesn’t allow you to be the detached, distant observer that we journalists often are.

But it wasn’t until I ventured deeper into the state of Haryana, into one of its hunger-stricken areas, that I really understood the program’s impact on children. As I describe in this story, in a village in the district of Bhiwani, most children go to school having eaten just a left over piece of bread and tea, or baasi roti aur chai, as mothers in the village would put it. Most families can’t afford vegetables or lentils or eggs.

As a journalist writing about health and development, I knew how widespread hunger and malnutrition still are in my country. But I’d never witnessed what that looks like for real people until I started reporting this series. And it was this project that helped me understand how a relatively simple idea of one freshly cooked meal a day benefits India’s millions of poor children.

Food rights activists and economists I spoke to while reporting this series, told me of places elsewhere in the country where children go to school on an empty stomach. The mid-day meal is their first meal of the day and their only regular source of vegetables and lentils, and in some states with better lunch menus, eggs.

“There are about seven-eight states that now give eggs in the school meal,” says Dipa Sinha, an economist and researcher at the Center for Equity Studies, a New Delhi based non-profit. She is also an activist for India’s Right to Food Campaign.

Sinha told me about one of her own visits to audit a government school in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh to see how well the school lunch program was working. The state had recently started offering eggs in their school lunches.

“There’s a box in the school where you can put in any complaints you have regarding the meal,” she says. “We opened it and one of the letters in that box was from a girl in class four and it was a Dalit girl, who said ‘thank you very much, I got to eat an egg in my life for the first time.’”

Now, remember India has the highest rate of child malnutrition in the world. According to The World Bank, rates of child malnutrition are five times higher than in China and two times higher than rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. And the undernourishment usually sets in pretty early, within the first three years of a child’s life. Whether the lunch program can alleviate the effects of early childhood malnutrition with just one free meal a day is poorly understood — although one recent study suggests it does.

But what is no longer debated today is that the mid-day meal program rescues children from dire hunger and improves their diets.

This isn’t to say that the school lunch program has no shortcomings. In fact, the program is riddled with problems, and how well the program works varies from state to state.

Every now and then one reads about incidents of food poisoning through the school meal. The worst of those cases occurred last year, in the state of Bihar, when 23 children died and more were hospitalized, after eating a lunch that was contaminated with pesticides. Another incident occurred just earlier this week in New Delhi, but thankfully the children are safe. The case is still under investigation.

What these incidents illustrate is a glaring lack of monitoring and accountability.

In the state of Tamil Nadu, which has the longest standing school lunch program, the state employs a “noon meal organizer,” for every three schools in a district. The organizer’s job is to make sure everything runs smoothly.

In other states, the job falls in the laps of already overburdened teachers who aren’t compensated for the extra work required to implement this program. As a result, there’s very little supervision and monitoring and no way to hold someone accountable when problems occur.

But as I wrap up my work on this series, I am left feeling an immense sense of awe. I’m in awe that in a country as vast and diverse as India, where everything is slowed down by red tape and corruption, the mid-day meal program has more or less succeeded in what it set out to do: improve child nutrition and increase school enrollment and attendance. After all, it is the world’s largest school lunch program and feeds 120 million of the country’s poorest children.

As economist Jean Dreze put it to me, “India gets too little credit for what it’s accomplished with this program.”

Rhitu Chatterjee’s Mid-Day Meal reports were produced with help from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Wordware, Inc. POS Solution Lunch cashier System (LCS 1000 Mayflower) – Point of Sale for Schools & Corporate Cafeterias

Wordware, Inc. School POS Solution (LCS 1000 Mayflower) represents the next generation in Enterprise Hospitality POS management systems for school and corporate cafeterias.

Offering a new standard in systems and data management integration, Wordware assures a level of operational reliability, flexibility, scalability and affordability second to none in the industry. Simple to use, yet extremely powerful, Wordware versatile architecture puts power at your fingertips. Whether it be adding a client, changing a menu item from a central site or reformatting the layout of reports, Wordware’s gives users the flexibility to customize details to any specification

Peer-to-Peer Architecture

Wordware, Inc. School POS Solution (LCS 1000 Mayflower) was designed with peer-to-peer architecture providing the highest degree of security and fault tolerance. This topology allows for all terminals to be connected yet work independently (locally or district wide) ensuring continuous cafeteria operation even in the event of a network or host computer failure or both!

With Wordware, Inc. School POS Solution (LCS 1000 Mayflower)’s advanced data synchronization capability, transactional consistency is maintained on all terminals at all times!! The result is maximum system availability.

Scalable and Flexible

Using the latest in database technology, Wordware, Inc. School POS Solution (LCS 1000 Mayflower) was designed with scalability in mind. LCS 1000 Mayflower ‘s database management system is fully ODBC and SQL compliant ensuring that third party systems can easily integrate with LCS 1000 Mayflower.

Furthermore, LCS1000 Mayflower ‘s flexible design gives the user the option of choosing the enterprise database server of choice. Consequently, with LCS 1000 Mayflower ‘s advanced architectural design, coupled with its platform independence open database flexibility, the user’s technological investment is protected now and well into the future.

With incomparable operational capability, a comprehensive feature set, powerful reporting abilities and superior fail-safe data redundancy and data synchronization management, LCS 1000 Mayflower offers an integrated, enterprise wide system solution designed to raise the level of business practice.

National School Lunch Program Compliant

Developed in accordance with the Free and Reduced Lunch Program of The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a federally assisted meal plan operating in public and non profit private schools and residential child care institutions.

Wordware, Inc. School POS Solution (LCS 1000 Mayflower) helps cafeterias to both streamline client throughput and provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

Enterprise Reports

Wordware, Inc. School POS Solution (LCS 1000 Mayflower) is not only easy to use for cashiers but for management as well. Reports can be generated at any time and at time intervals measured in minutes. LCS 1000 Mayflower s intuitive graphical user interface leads operators through each step making it straight- forward for even the least literate computer users to feel comfortable with.

Do you want information about Cafeteria Point of sale Software for coffee shops Contact us right now!

Wordware, Inc. Cafeteria Point of sale Software system  can provide your business affordable, scalable, robust and customizable systems with touch screen hardware.

The ability to also put in a concession stand, snack bar, coffee shop or any counter service restaurant is also a standard option with any Wordware CafeteriaPoint of sale Software system purchased. POS Software for Cafeteria’s and Salad Bars leverages over 25 years of POS software development and experience to empower your business with a wide array of customizable features and functionalities giving your business a competitive edge and allows your business to deliver a enhanced customer experience. Cafeteria Point of sale Software platform or act as a standalone fast and seamless management software servicing many small to large corporate facilities seeking to internally track and manage these services to employees or to the public

We can help you realize how your business can utilize the affordable, feature rich, award Point of sale Software system, will provide your Cafeteria or Salad Bar the ability for fast service and the tools to manage and market your business. Manage and bill all employees Cafeteria POS Software for Cafteria’s and Salad Bars can provide you increased sale growth, cash flow and profits!

If you are integrating us with a Grocery Store, Market or adding to your current Wordware Point of sale Software platform remembers any restaurant situation, Salad Bar or Cafeteria there is always a wealth of information in the customer data base that comes standard with every Wordware’s Cafeteria Point of sale Software system.
1000’s of reports come standard with every Wordware’s Point of sale Software system for specialty food stores.  Run any report for a sale, inventory total sales by department. A robust customer database, customer loyalty, email and direct mail marketing features along with real time inventory are all standard in any Wordware’s Cafeteria Point of sale Software Cafeteria’s and Salad Bars.

Cafeteria POS: Your Schools Need Point of Sale Systems, Wordware’s LCS 1000 Mayflower is best choice.

“Do you need a POS system for your cafeteria?”

This is a question many school administrators have asked recently as they review their technology budgets. The answer to the question is probably “yes,” because school cafeteria POS systems offer a variety of advantages not afforded by traditional electronic cash registers. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.

 Cafeteria POS systems speed up service

Students at K-12 schools typically have a very short window of time in which to purchase and eat their lunch, while those enrolled at colleges and universities are often on tight schedules between classes. With such features as custom screen layouts, quick card processing (“smart cards” for K-12 students and meal cards and/or credit and debit cards at the secondary level), and packaged commands, school cafeteria POS systems keep lines moving, ensuring that students consistently enjoy as much time as possible to consume their food.

Cafeteria POS systems improve inventory management

Cafeterias cater to hundreds or even thousands of students daily, meaning that they must manage a very sizeable inventory of perishable and non-perishable food and beverage items. They must ensure that they have sufficient quantities of ingredients and food on hand at all times, and that these items haven’t expired. Some schools must also follow federal guidelines that dictate which items they can and cannot serve, and to whom.

A cafeteria POS system with an inventory management module makes it easier for schools to rise to these challenges. Cafeteria administrators and other appropriate personnel can calculate food costs by recipe and, through usage reports, get a firm handle on inventory in stock. This permits shortages and overages to be addressed proactively, eliminating waste and ensuring that food is used by its expiration date.

The inventory management component of the cafeteria POS system can also be programmed to generate orders only when item levels have been depleted to a certain threshold, and to prevent the processing of orders that don’t meet certain parameters. Consequently, cafeterias are assured of having the right quantities of the right ingredients at the appropriate time. Waste is minimized, and adherence to all purchasing guidelines becomes the norm.

Cafeteria POS systems make for happier parents and students

Busy parents can forget to give their children lunch money. Occasionally, they can even find themselves ready to send their children to school, only to discover that they have no cash for lunch. By contrast, in schools with cafeteria POS systems, parents can simply load money onto students’ prepaid cards once a month (or in some districts, once a week). Parents are happy because there is no need to scramble for coins and bills every day, and children are happy because they no longer need to skip lunch or borrow money from a friend.

Additionally, some cafeteria POS systems give parents an extra measure of control over which food items their children can and cannot buy in the school cafeteria. In these cases, student profiles are maintained in a database and, because of an interface with the POS, cashiers cannot process the purchase of any item a parent has deemed “forbidden.” This system allows parents to do payment for the entire family through one student.  Wordare, Inc. provides e-Funds For Schools to allow families to choose a couple of different online payment options for student lunch accounts. Parents may choose to have payments automatically withdrawn electronically from your checking account or charged to your credit card. There is a convenience fee for using this program.

 

The benefits of cafeteria POS systems far outweigh the initial cost, making them a worthwhile investment for any school, K-12 or secondary.

Why do I need a LCS account?

Our easy to use features make managing your family’s school lunch accounts easy! Don’t have a family account yet?

Create a free account for your family today to take advantage of our online services.

Click here to begin our quick and easy registration

Why do I need a LCS account?

Our easy to use features make managing your family’s school lunch accounts easy!

And more!

 

About Wordware

Wordware, Inc., founded in 1983 and headquartered in Mendota Heights, MN, provides software applications for cafeteria business. Wordware’s  LCS mayflower system is expandable to concessions, school store and could be integrated with Student information system, which makes perfect advance solution for your school. Wordware Inc, Lunch payment system is a simple and secure way for schools to connect, transact and manage all their school payments solutions. POS system that will simplify order-taking, offer detailed sales and inventory tracking, and make managing your employees and customers a breeze.

Wordware partner with Efunds, Convenient Payments, EduTrak Software, FEEZEE For Schools accepts payments at any time for unlimited school services from multiple payment platforms. The convenience and flexibility of e-Funds For Schools will help to eliminate last minute check writing hassles and improve efficiencies with your student lunch account. Plus, you will no longer need to worry that your children could lose or forget the money intended for deposit in the school lunch program.

Contact
 Us.

Corporate Headquarters:
Wordware, Inc. 2526 Northland Dr:
Mendota Heights, MN 55120;
Email: sales@wordwareinc.com
www.wordwareinc.com
call us at (800) 955-2649

Wordware, Inc. Announced That the Company Has Entered Into an Exclusive Partnership With FEEZEE

Wordware, Inc.  announced that the company has entered into an exclusive partnership with FEEZEE for proving online payment options to its clients in global market.

Wordware’s robust, reliable, and feature-rich School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000. FEEZEE is an integrated software platform that manages online payment features in many ways, its single high-security platform for any kind of business. FEEZEE allows end-users to control, manage, monitor, pay safely, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. Secure payment processing on any device from a leading credit card payment processor.

Wordware’s School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000  are designed to integrate seamlessly with current systems, ensuring that existing credentials, readers, and user databases can be retained. The Wordware DataBridge is designed integrate data across multiple software applications within a School District. Our Databridge allows software applications to send information back and forth. The DataBridge allows each of these programs or portals to send information back and forth. With the DataBridge, a school does not need to maintain multiple databases of the same student list, they can maintain one and sync the rest with databridge.

Currently the LCS mayflower works seamlessly with hundreds of Student Information Systems. Many of our customers use Synergy, Infinite Campus, Power School, JMC, Skyward and more. The DataBridge has worked with every SIS that we have encountered.

  • Eliminate the need to maintain multiple databases
  • Maintain one database and sync the rest
  • One to many and many to one
  • Facilitate information for multiple departments within the district

“Wordware is excited to announce our partnership with FEEZEE, our exclusive online payment partner for School Lunch Software Solutions all over country,” said Manager  “We truly appreciate FEEZEE’s  expertise and are eager to support their growing channel partner network.  FEEZEE’s solutions, local knowledge, and experience complement our physical access product offerings for the market.

Under this best-of-breeds partnership, Wordware’s School lunch software platform is integrated with online payment gateway. FeeZee helps manage personnel access, online account management, credit card payment  etc. Wordware and FEEZEE will target customers in all kind of schools. These high customers require custom School Lunch Software with  policies that suit their individual needs and hassle-free deployments with seamless integration between software, hardware, and policies. • Easy online application • No complicated software to set up • No software or annual license fees FEEZEE Provides: • Secure, online payment processing from any mobile or internet capable device • Flexible payment options for your customers • An intuitive, easy to use interface • Reporting to help you manage payments • Customer receipts

About Wordware

Wordware, Inc., founded in 1983 and headquartered in Mendota Heights, MN, provides software applications for cafeteria sector. Wordware’s  LCS mayflower system is expandable to concessions, school store and could be integrated with Student information system, which makes perfect advance solution for your school. Wordware Inc, is the market leader in online Lunch payment system, most of the schools saves time and money using our unique and techno advance Lunch payment application software.  Lunch system makes your school to monitor money administration easier and will reduce time spent on managing the school meal service. Wordware Inc, Lunch payment system is a simple and secure way for schools to connect, transact and manage all their school payments solutions.

Contact Us. Corporate Headquarters: Wordware, Inc. 2526 Northland Dr: Mendota Heights, MN 55120; Email: Sales Information: sales@wordwareinc.com www.wordwareinc.com  call us at (800) 955-2649

About FEEZEE

FEEZEE is an easy to use payment processing solution that allows you to process credit cards, debit cards and ACH transactions with a simple interface launched right from your web site. FEEZEE does all the heavy lifting of payment processing so you can focus on the things you need to do to make your business successful. Don’t get bogged down with setting up merchant accounts, creating reports and managing software, let FEEZEE handle it and start accepting online payments today.

Solutions available for education and businesses that need to process payments electronically.Why FEEZEE? It’s easy. Contact sales@fee-zee.com, or call us at 844-5-FEEZEE (844-533-3933) for more information visit www.fee-zee.com

Changes coming to National School Lunch Program, will affect local students

The Education and Workforce Committee approved a bill to change the way the National School Lunch Program works.

However, the bill will still need a full House vote.

Right now, through a measure called community eligibility, a school’s entire student body is eligible for free lunches if at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In Cleveland City Schools, all students eat for free – but that will change, and principal Mike Collier says – that’s disappointing.

“It’s going to impact us. I mean, there’s no way that it wouldn’t,” he said.

Right now, if 40 percent of students live in poverty, in a specific school, that school qualified for free meals for all students, paid for by the federal government.

The bill will increase that to 60 percent, meaning Cleveland Middle wouldn’t apply anymore.

Administrators at Cleveland City Schools, like Supervisor of Child Nutrition, Susan Miller, says they’ve known about since January.

“You cannot teach a hungry child. And, so, that’s what we’re here for is to make sure that every child has an opportunity to be prepared to learn everyday,” she said.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a D.C. think- tank, says millions of children across the U.S., and here in our area, are at risk of losing meal access.

The measure could potentially put students in some of the country’s poorest communities at risk for missing meals.

Principal Collier says the school system will do what they can to prevent this from happening.

“Kids are our number one priority. And one way or another – we’re gonna make sure that they have the opportunity to eat breakfast, and we’re gonna make sure they have the opportunity to eat lunch regardless of who they are and what the circumstances are,” he said.

The sponsor of the bill, Representative Todd Rokita, wants the eligibility to change to 60 percent because, he says, they’ll be able to provide summer meals and better breakfasts for those most in need.

But, opponents say some students who do qualify won’t apply because of the social stigma associated with free and reduced lunch.



Todd Rokita wants to restrict free school lunches

Maureen Groppe and Chelsea Schneider, IndyStar Washington Bureau

There’s a food fight going on in Washington D.C.Rep. Todd Rokita has proposed a bill that would restrict access to free and reduced school meals at public schools.Rokita is focused on changing a portion of the program that allows some schools to pro Nate Chute/IndyStar

4396 87 LINKEDIN 87 COMMENTMORE

WASHINGTON — High-poverty schools would have a harder time qualifying for federal assistance to offer free meals schoolwide under a proposal by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis.

The bill, which a House committee will vote on Wednesday,  would raise the share of a school’s students who must be receiving other government aid in order for the school to be eligible to provide meals to all students. Those schools would still be able to provide free meals to students who qualify on an individual basis.

Rokita said the change would target assistance to those most in need, and the savings would be redirected to other nutrition programs for school-age children. The savings would amount to about $1 billion over 10 years.

“We stick it right back into their school,” he said. “I think that’s a pretty creative way to lead on this issue without adding to our $19 trillion in debt.”

The change would affect about 120 Indiana schools — including at least 14 in Marion County — that serve nearly 58,000 students who would no longer qualify for a schoolwide free meal program, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.

Indiana school officials using the program, known as community eligibility, said it has helped the families they serve.

“We know that there are more students that are eating, especially breakfast,” said Krista Stockman, spokeswoman for Fort Wayne Community Schools, which is feeding more than 21,000 students in schools that would have to go back to the old system under the proposed change. “It is a benefit that puts money directly back into families’ pockets.”

Sara Gasiorowski, director of child nutrition for Wayne Township Schools, with 11 schools participating in the program, said breakfast and lunch are important parts of the academic day for students.

If the program is rescinded, she said, “It would really, really be hard to go backward.”

Students qualify for free meals if their family income is less than 131 percent of the federal poverty level — about $31,800 for a family of four.

Students in families with incomes up to 185 percent of the poverty level receive meals at a reduced cost — no more than 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast.

Students can automatically qualify for a free or reduced-price meal if their family is already receiving certain other types of government assistance, such as food stamps. Otherwise, a student’s family has to show a school their income is low enough to be eligible.

When Congress reauthorized the school meal program in 2010, lawmakers allowed schools to offer free lunches to all students if at least 40 percent of their students automatically qualified for assistance.

Rokita wants to raise that threshold to 60 percent.

“Before you get reimbursed as a school for giving everyone lunch … let’s make sure a majority of them actually qualify for it,” he said.

Although a 40 percent threshold might sound low, it refers only to students who automatically qualify for subsidized meals, said Zoe Neuberger, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In schools that meet that bar, about two-thirds of the students would qualify if administrators checked household income levels.

Before the community eligibility program, about 70 percent of Fort Wayne Community Schools’ students qualified for free or reduced-price meals. But district officials think a number of other families were either close to meeting the requirements or chose not to fill out the paperwork to receive assistance.

Not having to process student applications or monitor eligibility status in the lunch line saves schools’ resources, advocates say. Per meal costs also can be cheaper through economies of scale by feeding more kids. And serving free meals to all students can remove the stigma some might feel by applying for a subsidy.

Still, not all schools that are eligible for the program use it. That could be because they won’t save enough money to offset the cost of feeding more kids, since the federal government doesn’t pick up the full cost of the meals for all participants. Or schools could still be monitoring the program, which has been available nationwide for just two years.

In Marion County, the schools now offering free lunch to all students are Vision Academy-Riverside, The Challenge Foundation Academy, Arlington in Indianapolis Public Schools and 11 Wayne Township schools, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Rokita said any extra paperwork required for schools going back to the old system would be offset with the flexibility his bill would give them on meeting the tougher nutrition standards set by the 2010 law.

About 60 percent of the more than 760,000 Indiana students who participate in a school lunch program receive a free or reduced-price meal, according to the most recent statistics available from the Food Research & Action Center.

Cynthia Hubert, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, said she’s concerned about any change that could make it harder for students to get fed at school.

“If the children can’t get it there,” she said, “the charitable and private sector can’t do enough to fill that gap.”

One in seven Hoosier households was “food insecure” in the three-year period 2012-14, meaning they had difficulty at some point providing enough food for all family members, according to the Agriculture Department.

Federal spending on child nutrition programs — the largest of which are the school meal programs — has more than doubled since 1990, even after adjusting for inflation. Reasons include population growth, higher reimbursement rates to schools and policy changes.

Spending could grow an additional 26 percent in 10 years because of expected increases in food prices and demographic changes, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated last fall.

The savings from the change Rokita proposes would be spent on improving the summer meals program and increasing schools’ reimbursement rate for the breakfast program.

“When you’re getting a great deal, and you don’t have to do any paperwork for it, yeah, there may be some hesitancy to change,” he said. “But I am leading with a solution that solves a lot of their other problems. I’m just not doing it by adding to the debt.”

Neuberger, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said it’s a “false choice to say you have to make it harder for low-income kids to get meals during the school year in order to make those improvements.”

“We can make investments in all of the programs,” she said.

Email Maureen Groppe at mgroppe@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mgroppe.




House bill would scale back number of free school meals

BY Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press




Legislation to revise school lunch program passes House committee

By News Desk | May 20, 2016

Controversial federal legislation to limit funding for subsidized school lunches and change some of the program’s nutritional standards passed a House committee on a 20-14 vote May 18, and the proposal is being hammered by critics who believe it would endanger the health of American school children.

kids-school-lunch-iphoneThe bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), said that his “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003) will save money and give schools more flexibility to meet nutritional standards.

According to a statement from the House Committee on Education and the Work Force, the bill “reauthorizes and reforms federal child nutrition programs to ensure states and schools have the flexibility they need to provide children with access to healthy meals without additional or prohibitive costs.”

H.R. 5003, if passed by both houses of Congress, would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct block grant pilot projects on the state level to test alternative certification and food delivery procedures under the bill and then evaluate these projects after three years.

Under Rokita’s bill, the current requirement that free meals may be offered when at least 40 percent of the students at a given school already get some types of government help would be raised to at least 60 percent.

Democratic members of the committee and others are criticizing Rokita’s bill for what they see as a plan to cut back on the availability of free and reduced-price healthy meals for needy children.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) called H.R. 5003 “more representative of child nutrition policy out of ‘The Hunger Games’” as he tried to have the legislation renamed for that popular film. However, his proposal was voted down by the GOP-led committee.

Among the groups which have issued statements opposing the legislation are the School Nutrition Association (SNA), American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Food Research & Action Center.

SNA President Jean Ronnei stated Wednesday that while changes are needed in the school lunch program, H.R. 5003 is not the appropriate vehicle to get those done.

“Although the House bill provides a much appreciated and necessary increase to federal reimbursements for school breakfast, portions of the bill will cause irreparable harm to federal school meal programs,” she stated.

CSPI indicated support for a bipartisan Senate legislative approach instead and asserted that H.R. 5003 would return junk food to U.S. schools.

“The bill would weaken the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, allowing schools to substitute chips, sugary fruit snacks and trail mix for the fresh fruit and vegetables they now get as snacks through the program, and make it more difficult for low-income students to receive free meals,” CSPI stated.

Supporters say the bill’s estimated $1-billion savings over 10 years would be applied to other nutritional programs for children and that changing the program’s nutritional standards would result in children being offered food they actually like and will eat instead of food the government thinks they should eat.

Source:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/05/126489/#.Vz7GcCEppUY




The Importance of the Point of Sale (POS) System

By on

 

Point of Sale (POS) equipment is the computer-based order-entry technology many restaurants use to capture orders, record data and display or print tickets. Restaurant servers, bartenders and cashiers can all use POS systems to easily enter food and beverage orders.

POS Capabilities

The POS acts as a cash register as well as a computer. In fact, the POS can consist of multiple stations, including credit card terminals, receipt printers, display screens, hostess stations and server stations. Having a POS system in place can add convenience, accuracy and save time in busy situations. In fact, is has the ability to perform a multitude of functions, including the following:

  • Calculate cash due for every order entered
  • Record the method of payment
  • Keep track of the cash in the cash drawer
  • Create hourly and daily sales reports
  • Allow hourly employees to clock in and out
  • Calculate labor and payroll data
  • Record daily check averages for each worker
  • Keep track of menu items sold
  • Record information on repeat customers

How Employees Use POS Systems

Keep in mind that some systems work differently than others. User processes will be different depending on restaurant type and service style. The following steps represent the general process of taking an order with a POS system:

  1. The employee enters in his or her name or user code into the initial touch screen. This allows the worker to access the system.
  2. The employee begins a new order or check by entering in food items the customer orders. For full service restaurants, the employee is also able to choose a table number and add food to an existing check.
  3. The POS sends this all order information to the kitchen or bar in the form of a printed ticket or on a digital display monitor.
  4. The kitchen or bar employees read the order and make the appropriate food or beverage for the waitstaff or other employee to serve the customer.
  5. In a quick-service restaurant, the employee will read the total charge on the POS display, and collect payment from the customer. In full service, the server will bring a check, wait for payment, then enter it into the POS when the customers are finished.

Where to Set Up the POS

Touch screens can be located in many different places around the restaurant, depending on the layout and the service style. For quick-service or fast-casual restaurants, the POS systems are usually located in a visible place, often close to the front doors of the restaurant. In a full service restaurant, the POS is usually located in a discreet location so as not to interfere with the ambience or the dining experience.

Advantages of Digital Display Systems

Modern POS systems, especially those in large chain restaurants, have digital display components. Technically called kitchen display systems, also known as KDS screens or “bump screens,” the order pops up with clear information as to what food was requested, the time the order was placed, the table number and the server name. When the food is prepared and finished, the kitchen worker will hit a button on the screen, effectively “bumping” it from view and recording the time it was finished. This is an especially effective way to stay organized, communicate the status of orders, and record speed of service information.

Specific POS Configurations

You should purchase a POS for your specific restaurant type, especially if your operation has any special requirements. However, the software can typically be configured to your exact operation specifications such as your restaurant menu items and prices.

Use Your POS to Gather Marketing Data

The POS has the ability to record phone numbers, email addresses or order information, such check average per table or party size. The POS can build a database of customer information. Later, in your direct marketing campaigns, you can use this information to personalize your promotions and tailor them to specific types of customers.

What to Look for in a POS System

Every POS system differs based on its software, hardware and application. When looking for a POS system, do some research online and check out several different companies. You can even request a demo from a salesperson. Make sure the POS system you choose is one that fits your restaurant concept, service style and business needs. After all, this software can take a big bite out of your budget. When choosing the right POS system for your operation, be sure to consider the following:

  • Price and quality.

Before you buy, make sure you know your business volume and system needs so you know your money is appropriately spent. POS software can cost $2,000 or more, and the terminals themselves can be up to $5,000 per station. Extra features and add-on options like digital displays or hand-held terminals usually add dollars as well. Warranties can add yet another yearly cost. Always ask sales representatives for price quotes, including all hardware, installation, software upgrades and support before deciding if a POS system is for you.

  • Necessary hardware components.

Make sure you purchase both the hardware and the software for the POS system. Hardware includes the touch screen monitor to place at the point of sale—usually at the service counter, behind the bar or at the waiter station. Hardware also includes any necessary network servers, customer display equipment, kitchen display systems and even portable terminals and handheld devices.

  • Software to track data.

Software includes all the programs you need for the point of sale, back of the house financial and inventory reports, gift card capabilities and even customer self-service. Software can even use labor data to help you create employee schedules, making a tedious task less time-consuming.
Learn More »

  • Financial reporting capabilities.

Make sure that your POS software allows you to retrieve your financial information in detailed, coherent reports, ideally on the back of the house (BOH) terminal where you can properly analyze the information.

  • User friendliness.

A POS system that is confusing or requires extensive training may not be worth the hassle. Not only will it frustrate employees but it will slow down speed of service for customers. Also, be sure the orders are easy to read and understand. In a busy kitchen, there is no time for mistakes.

  • Technical support.

It is not a matter of if there will be a problem, but when there will be a problem with your POS system. Hopefully the problem will be minor, but just in case, it helps to know that you have experienced technicians available to help in times of crisis.

foodservice school program, foodservice school program, business lunch software, food service point of sale, foodservice point of sale, cafeteria POS program, cafeteria POS software